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March 08, 2018 | Financial Health

Early Bird? Procrastinator? What Your Tax Filing Method Says about You

Are you a last-minute tax filer or an early bird? Do you neatly organize all your receipts and W-2s or does everything get stuffed in a shoebox? It’s no surprise that how we do our taxes says a lot about who we are as people.

Awhile back, The Daily Beast talked to some experts to find tax personality types. To us at Umpqua, no one is better than the other. Everyone has their own system for finding financial harmony. By sharing these, we hope you find a better understand of your relationship with money, which can help make you more comfortable in your financial life.

So, which personality are you?

1. The Early Bird: Filing early is always a good idea, as it can protect you from ID fraud and increase your happiness. Whether you’re expecting a refund or not, you’re motivated to get a clearer picture of your finances. But Tim Pychyl, professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa says you’re a “defensive pessimist, motivated by a fear of failure, which compels you to get your taxes done. If you complete work presentations weeks in advance and buy Christmas gifts in July, this is you. However, Pychyl adds, you’re extremely conscientious and have high emotional intelligence.

2. The Procrastinator: Art Markman, a procrastination expert and professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, says procrastinators engage in “avoidance motivation.” Just as Early Birds use fear to motivate, Procrastinators use fear to stagnate. If you put off going to the dentist, this is you. However, you’re not alone. According to Turbo Tax, a quarter of U.S. taxpayers wait until the final two weeks before the deadline to file.

3. The Strategist: You have a plan and the taxes get done. Probably not on Day 1 or at the last minute, but that’s OK because, as mentioned, you have a plan. You like to go to a CPA or use a program like TurboTax. If you’re a to-do list kind of person, this is you.

4. The Envelope Pusher. You have a taste for … danger. You look for any opportunity to take any deduction. If you like to work the angles in a situation, this is you. Jeff Gardere, a clinical psychologist and contributor to HealthGuru.com, says you have more of an entrepreneurial spirit. Just don’t be one of the 4 percent in an IRS poll who said it was perfectly fine to lie to the government “as much as possible.” 

5. The Child at Heart. If you have your parents do your taxes, you may be delaying adulthood for as long as possible … or you have a parent who is a CPA.

6. The Luddite. The IRS reports that a small sliver of people still file by paper, but even still, that’s millions of people. If you hesitate to bank electronically, this is you. But the truth is, filing electronically not only saves time, it’s safer and helps you get your refund within days, as opposed to weeks.

Whichever personality you are, happy filing and don’t forget about our TurboTax discount!